In 2018, Oklahoma shocked the nation by legalizing medical marijuana, just a few years after our state had sued neighboring states for their own cannabis laws. Now, a little over a year after our medical program officially got off the ground, we are still shocking the rest of the nation with our passion for the plant.
Cannabis is Oklahoma’s new oil boom, and with thousands of additional patients receiving their cards each month, it’s a boom that is showing no signs of dying back just yet. Oklahomans are consuming cannabis as fast as the farms can produce it, and a growing portion of patients are venturing into the world of growing for themselves at home.
There’s a laundry list of reasons that people are beginning to grow their own medicine at home. For many, the biggest factor is the cost. While prices here in the state are slowly becoming more leveled, for patients who require a higher dose for relief from their conditions, it can still be exceedingly expensive to buy what they need. Being able to grow for themselves at home dramatically reduces the cost; even if they’re still purchasing some, they’re not forced to rely on potentially expensive flower, because they’ve got their own supply ready. For others, it’s about knowing exactly what’s going into the flower that’s going into their body. While most growers do focus on patient safety and wellbeing, having the ability to grow it yourself at home, and know for a fact what is feeding that plant is well worth the effort, simply for your own health.
Whatever the reason, home growers are becoming a substantial portion of the patient population in Oklahoma, and they’re making sure their fellow Oklahomans aren’t left behind.
Brad D., known on Instagram as @medsbybrad, is from Shattuck, Oklahoma, and says that the cannabis community here is unique, especially the home growers. “It’s more welcoming than any other I’ve seen. It’s heartwarming to see, really.” That welcoming atmosphere plays a key role in how information about growing spreads, and Brad says it gives new growers a distinct advantage. “Everyone is so open to sharing techniques and advice, it’s easier to learn about mistakes before they happen, and easier to find the answers you need.”
Like many growers, Brad says one of his first mistakes when he began growing his first plant, Special Kush, was simply overdoing it all. “I was overwatering and over-watching my plants because I was so afraid to let them dry out at all. It’s okay to let them get a little thirsty, it’s easier to bounce back from some underwatering than major overwatering.” That over-watering plays a big role in the health of the plant’s roots, another area Brad admits he overlooked. “That’s been my toughest lesson in growing so far..roots equals fruits, and if you don’t start right, you can’t end right.”
Growing any kind of plant to harvest takes effort, and cannabis is no exception, though for growers at home, how much effort is entirely up to them, something that Brad, and many other growers, enjoy. “My favorite part about home growing is that you can make it your own. However hard or easy you want your grow to be, you can do that. If you don’t want to spend a ton of time or are too busy, there are ways to automate your tents for most things, and outdoor growing takes even less effort. Or, if you’d prefer, you can tend, love, and care for your plants all cycle. I really enjoy seeing the different methods different people prefer to use.”
Very few growers use the exact same methods or nutrients as somebody else. Everybody has their own way of doing things, but for those who have the same tendency to over-micro-manage their grow, Brad’s advice is that of the hands-off variety: “Growing should never be a chore. Please have fun with it, and never be afraid to botch a plant if it means that you will gain some knowledge that you can use to help in future grows.”
As most gardeners of any kind will admit, it’s not all about the produce, or the flower. There’s a special kind of peace to be found in the garden and in the dirt, one that’s amplified when the plants you’re growing are beneficial to your wellbeing. Growing anything teaches lessons that you can’t often learn elsewhere in life, including the one learned by Brad and many others.
“Slow down and breathe. If a problem arises, it’s not going to go away by panicking.” That mindset reflects in Brad’s final piece of advice for growers, new and experienced alike: “Relax and let the plant grow. It will tell you what it needs, you just have to spend the time to learn how it speaks.”